Designing for Designers

Turk Interiors Stationary SuiteA dear friend of mine is launching her interior styling business and she turned to me for her branding needs.  I love that she thought of me (well, I would have probably killed her if she had gone somewhere else…) mainly because I know we have the same passion for good design.  Also, I have HER best interest at heart, not mine.  I want her to be successful and for her work to be seen in the best light possible.  We all know that means loads of time with Photoshop!  The biggest limitation in the project was her desire to ‘add my own pictures on my own schedule’…and not have to pay for every new room design images to be uploaded.  Well, I love her, but computer savvy she is not.  How to build a reasonable good looking website with easy image management.  !!  I usually work in dreamweaver and have been playing with Muse at work (love that!), but file management is not her best asset.  We decided on a .wix site.  Easy drag and drop features and she will be able to manage her assets (sort to speak) herself, no duck or filezilla to contend with.

The best part of working with a designer is that you both speak the same language.  When she says, ugh, those colors!  I know what she means.  When she says, I love the ocean and the beach I want to feel it but I don’t want anyone else to know.  I get that.  We worked on the TT initials to represent a home, a doorway to new beginnings, and the slatted path to represent a walkway-in a circle to say ‘renew.’  It was so much fun to work with her.  It was a project I really enjoyed and she is very happy.  yeah.

here is the link to her site,

4 eyes are better than 2, I will miss the second set of eyes

I was sitting at work the other day thinking about how much I enjoy being there, not too many can say they love their job. I have a great job and I love working with the other members of our graphic department, I know this job is coming to an end and I am going to miss the work environment and atmosphere very much.

We always say four eyes are better than two.  We manage to critique, analyze, and commiserate with equal gusto on most of our designs.  I do the article layouts, there is the gal who is responsible for the ads and then there is our creative director (who oversees everything and still manages to work on spreads and features).  Perhaps because we are not really stepping on anyone’s toes it is easier to make suggestions on other creative’s work. It is such a pleasure and a privilege to be part of a great team. We all have moments of design indecision. There is the ad the client gives no direction, but just knows exactly what they want it to look like, why don’t you?!  Or the client who says they want a logo with just their initials in a red and gray theme, then after weeks of designing, they end up wanting a glyph (yes, a glyph) in green.  Or in magazine layouts, you have terrible photos submitted by the editor from the writer and the article is way too wordy for a two page spread…where in the world am I going to get my white space????  I move, I adjust, I get up and walk away.  I come back, I spend hours with Photoshop correcting bad lighting, bad aging, bad color…and in the end I have managed to make a horrible photo, printable.  When we get frustrated or blocked, we get a second pair of eyes… and we stand back and point out the things that are driving us crazy. Usually, someone will say, “you know, if you…” and that will lead to the ah-ha moment.  As a designer, we have many tools and plenty of experience to guide us on each design. Nothing is more thrilling or more daunting than a blank InDesign spread or an empty Illustrator artboard. However, we can become so engrossed in the little details sometimes we lose the forest for the trees.  We think so much about a design…’and then this tiny mark will represent the spark of the beginning of all life form’ and someone will say, “is that a smudge on your screen, you should really clean that.”  ARGHGHGH. So in those moments when we have spent hours fixing photos and playing with spacing, kerning, and type elements, when we lose sight of the whole spread, it is so nice to have a great bunch of coworkers to bounce your ideas off of. I don’t know what I will do without them.

T-Shirt Design: Red/White/Blue

I have had the privilege for years to work with a political maniac  powerhouse out of Virginia Beach down in Virginia. I do the occasional save the date, site posters, ads, letterheads and mail-outs.  It’s political, so it’s always red, white and blue.  Usually, she insists on stars and stripes.  Usually, I oblige.  This last job was for a 5k run and walk, on the beach.  So, the direction went something like this:  “you know, political but beachy…oh and fun.” Right, got it.  Very specific.  This is what was most popular with the Delegate and his team:

Red/White/Blue fun run logo
T-shirt Design, Scott Taylor 85th District Delegate, Virginia Beach, Va

Environmental Design and my long absence explained…

I know, I know, I have been gone over a year.  I took a gap year from stress/school/kids and sailed for a year.  It was a crazy adventure and I blogged about the whole experience, if you are interested you can see our adventures at

Now we are back in the states and I have my computer back AND regular semi-reliable internet.  I will be posting more regularly now on this site.

While we were in the Bahamas I saw some wonderful local art and design.  One of the things I am becoming more and more interested in is environmental design, you know, like the signs directing you to places.  We have traveled so much in the past year, one of the places I find myself  looking for often is the bathroom!  Don’t laugh, you would be as flabbergasted as I at being told the bathroom is “back there through the door and around the corner” and finding yourself next to the dumpster thinking:  Oh, please don’t let this be where I pee.  Bathrooms should be well marked and not have you walk through the kitchen, someone’s bedroom, or end up at the dumpster.  Here is one of my all time favorite bathroom signs.  It was in a bar in Eleuthra and it pointed exactly to the bathrooms, was easy to see from the seating at the bar, and was just beautiful to behold.  Design at it’s best.

Bathrooms?  Yes!  Right there.
Bathrooms? Yes! Right there.

Design for everyday

So, other than being incredibly busy with a graduating son, boat shopping, moving plans and some other disastrous events, I ran across this site today.  And I was amazed at the designs.  Now of course, it is a collaborative effort but each deck has 54 fabulously unique and wonderfully designed cards.  I know, 52 cards in a deck but the Jokers are beautiful as well.   The 10 of spades in the DC deck is one of my personal favorites, but then I love a good black bird.  Not only is this  a brilliant idea but the gathering of artwork for these projects is an art director’s dream.  Not so many as to drive you crazy but enough to make it interesting and exciting.  Then of course, there is that moment when you go, “shit, why didn’t I think of that.”  I do have a plan of a similar design aspect, but I am not sharing right now.     


Enjoy the beauty of the site and the designs.  


design reduced

I was thinking the other day about the plethora of what I call–reduction design.  You know, cropped portions, clean simple lines, and very often some texture..  Very Charlie Harper.   Whom I love.  And I ran across this through a friend:    and it made me smile and laugh.  They are Disney posters redsigned.   My favorite is Alice in Wonderland.    As a society we have embraced this reduction in design, and I do love it.  Just like there is a whole scrapbooking culture-that design too has seeped into mainstream design ideas.  We are seeing more and more of it in web design, the ‘stitching’ look and textured backgrounds.  I love the diversity.

The Eternal Optimist


So, here it is the brink of SPRING, we had miserably hot 90 degree weather in March and now in April I am reminded of fall– What’s up wid dat?  I am reminded of  the image on concrete that fall leaves leave behind after a rain.  Is that not one of the most beautiful sights you have ever seen?  Running on those awful misty mornings and seeing those little pieces of art roll under your feet, it can only make you smile.  I have stopped running, thanks to arthritis in my knees, but I still marvel and look forward to those warm toned imprints on the glorious texture of concrete. I should be thinking of spring, I should be focusing on the azaleas and the hostas that popped up, EE gad the tulips that are long gone now.  It is cold in the mornings!?   Spring. Yes, thank goodness you are here.  Optimism.  Joy.  Warmth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And tulips.  Those 6 petals of hope.  The eternal optimist, the tulip.  I buy you, I plant you,  and I applaud you.  Welcome tulip. Welcome Spring.  Bliss. focus, focus, focus.

Tulips, oil on canvas 18 x 24, original oil, P. Castelain
The eternal optimist.